The British Herpetological Society

The Herpetological Journal is the Society's prestigious quarterly scientific journal. Articles are listed in Biological Abstracts, Current Awareness in Biological Sciences,Current Contents, Science Citation Index, and Zoological Record.

The 2017/18  impact factor of The Herpetological Journal is 1.268

pdf 06. Palmate newt predation on common frog, Rana temporaria, and common toad, Bufo bufo, tadpoles


Open Access


Authors: C. J. Reading

Abstract: In a series of laboratory experiments, male palmate newts that had no previous experience of anuran tadpoles as potential prey were conditioned for five days to small worms, common frog tadpoles, common toad tadpoles or a 50:50 mixture of frog+toad tadpoles. During three experiments, conditioned newts were offered I) a 50:50 mixture of frog+toad tadpoles 2) only frog tadpoles or 3) only toad tadpoles.
The results showed that palmate newts with no previous experience of either frog or toad tadpoles very quickly learnt to distinguish between t hem and take only frog tadpoles. This was supported by the results of a fourth experiment using male palmate newts from a pond that contained both tadpole species. Common toad tadpoles were almost totally rejected.
The conclusion is, that common frog tadpoles gain no long term protection against predation from palmate newts through associating with common toad tadpoles.

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